And she’s from the Sunny Coast


A QUEENS­LAND au­thor touted as the next J.K. Rowl­ing says her sup­port­ive teach­ers and fam­ily fos­tered her love of read­ing and writ­ing from a young age.

Jes­sica Townsend, 32, grew up on the Sun­shine Coast, but next month will em­bark on an in­ter­na­tional book tour for the re­lease of her de­but chil­dren’s fan­tasy novel Nev­er­moor: The Tri­als of Mor­ri­gan Crow.

Last Oc­to­ber, she se­cured a six-fig­ure, three-book deal and 20th Cen­tury Fox snapped up the film rights. Ms Townsend said she was in­ter­ested in writ­ing “from a re­ally young age” and was taught to read by an older sis­ter when she was four.

“When I was seven, I wrote this story called The

Three Koalas – it was ridicu­lously long. I think the teacher asked for three sen­tences and I’d writ­ten about 30,” she said. “My teacher or my mum sent it to the Caloun­dra Li­brary and the li­brar­ian was very sweet, she pub- lished it in the news­let­ter and I thought it was the most amaz­ing thing in the world.”

Ms Townsend said she had an in­spir­ing English teacher at Kawana State High School, who was “still a friend to this day”. “I al­ways did re­ally well at school. I had sub­jects that I re­ally loved like English, drama and mod­ern his­tory … I loved re­ally any­thing to do with sto­ries and words,” she said.

She said she “can’t wait” un­til her de­but was “out in the world”.

“It’s a hard thing for me to wrap my head around, partly be­cause the dead­line for book two is so close. “When I’m think­ing about the ac­tual book com­ing out … it’s weird to me that all that stuff is hap­pen­ing. “I feel it prob­a­bly won’t seem real un­til the book is on my doorstep.” The pub­lish­ing deal has cre­ated a buzz with her novel be­ing com­pared to the Harry Pot­ter se­ries. “As a chil­dren’s au­thor, I can’t think of any­thing more flat­ter­ing to even ut­ter my name in the same sen­tence as J.K. Rowl­ing,” she said.

POT­TER-PEN: Au­thor Jes­sica Townsend is a whiz with words.

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